DEAR JANE: My friend’s husband STALKS her location with a tracker and spies on her with security cameras – he claims it’s all a joke but I’m worried he’s a sociopath

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Dear Jane,

One of my best friends has been married for about 18 months now – and in that time her husband has become increasingly possessive of her – to the point where he now insists she carry an Apple AirTag everywhere so he can see her location , and has installed security cameras in every corner of the house so he can watch her on his phone while he’s at work.

If she leaves the house during the day without telling him – even to go to the supermarket or fill up with gas – he calls her immediately and informs her of what she is doing. When she’s eating “too long” with me or one of our other friends, he texts and calls every five minutes to ask when she’ll be home.

He has accused her of cheating on him multiple times and has demanded that she limit all social activities he is not involved in to just once a week, which seems insane to me.

Dear Jane, My good friend’s husband has become more and more controlling of her – he even watches her every move with trackers and cameras, and I am terrified of her

His control over her begins to feel sociopathic. She’s like a prisoner in her own house – but when I ask her about it, she laughs it off and just says he’s protective.

I’m really starting to worry for her and have a feeling this could be the start of a very slippery slope where she will tumble down with no way to escape.

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers' most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers’ most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column

How can I make her see that this is not a big joke, but a terrifying start to her married life?


Friendly fear

Dear Friendly Fear,

You are absolutely right to be concerned – this is extremely controlling behavior, what is now called coercive control: a pattern of behavior that creates an unequal power dynamic in a relationship, which then gives the perpetrator power over their partner, making it very dangerous. hard for them to leave.

Coercive control research shows that this type of abuse often predicts future physical abuse, so every instinct of yours is correct.

The problem is that your boyfriend is newlywed and may still be wearing rose-colored glasses.

For all we know, this kind of relationship may be familiar to her, and control may feel like an expression of love to her.

Be that as it may, she seems oblivious to the toll this will take. Yet.

Which means that no matter how right you are, or how valid your concerns are, she’s not currently in a place where she can listen to you. I know how frustrating this is, but there’s no way you can show her the potential dangers until she’s ready.

The more you bring it up, the more likely she is to lose you as a friend.

She will reach a point where she realizes it, and she will need you, so I would urge you to do whatever you can to stay in her life. This is especially important given how coercive control offenders will attempt to isolate their partners from everyone – friends and family – who are important to them.

For now, your role as a friend is to be her loving witness and safe confidant.

Arm yourself with the information you (and they) need, including building a safety plan. Organizations such as the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health and the Battered Women’s Justice Project will help with advice on creating a safety plan and supporting your friend.